Google has employed the use of a security-enhancing service, codenamed ‘Bouncer’ to protect against malicious software on the Android marketplace. This is designed to protect users against malicious software without affecting their experience of the marketplace.
As it currently stands, developers do not need approval to get an application on the marketplace. This has resulted in some applications being launched that contain malware. The Bouncer service will not change the submission process for developers, but simply scans applications as soon as they appear on the marketplace. New launches are scanned for known spyware and trojans or suspicious activity. In addition, apps that are in existence will be scanned and known producers of illegitimate applications will be kept off the marketplace.
Vice President of Engineering at Android, Hiroshi Lockheimer, announced this new layer of security in a talk about the success of the marketplace during the year. He stated that device applications have grown by 250% year-on-year and that the number of apps downloaded from the store has surpassed 11 billion. While there was a 40% decrease in the number of potentially-malicious downloads from Android Market between the first and second half of 2011, Android is committed to keeping its customers safe. Lockheimer said, “While it’s not possible to prevent bad people from building malware, the most important measurement is whether those bad applications are being installed from Android Market - and we know the rate is declining significantly.”